On 27 April 2014, the Orthodox Christians are on the Sunday of Saint Thomas, the 2nd Sunday after Easter. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Patriarchal Cathedral by His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, together with His Grace Varlaam Ploiesteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch. After reading the evangelical pericope of John 20:19-31, the Patriarch of Romania delivered a sermon in which he showed the truths revealed by this Gospel fragment. The first one is the reality of the Resurrection of the Crucified Christ. His Beatitude has also said that the Gospel shows us that doubt can be healed: “The Gospel shows us that Christ, our Lord, understood the wish of His disciple Thomas to make sure of the reality of His Resurrection. He addressed Thomas directly in a reproachful tone: “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe”. His doubt disappeared and He confessed Him as being the Lord of Life and the True God, saying: “My Lord and my God.” It was a radical change for a Jew to see something limited and confess God the Unlimited, to see something material and confess the Unseen and Unlimited God. His confession is a complete one now. When he said My Lord he understood that He is the Lord of life and when he said My God he understood that He is True God. This confession of the divinity of the Christ crucified and Risen is the foundation of the faith of the Church”.
After He heals Saint Thomas the Apostle who was suffering from doubt, the Saviour says: “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”. Faith, His Beatitude showed, is a quality, a spiritual capacity to know beyond the physical sight: “This blessing belongs to the faithful people. This is why Saint Paul the Apostle says in his 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians 4:18: “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”. Thus, what we see with our body’s eyes are temporary things. Having been non-material, unlimited and unseen God cannot be seen with the body’s eyes, but He can be seen through faith, His presence can be felt and so can be His work in the life of the faithful man, in the life of the world and in His creation”.
While referring to the scriptural pericope of the Gospel according to John, the Patriarch of Romania has also shown the purpose of our faith: “We also see in today’s Gospel that the purpose of our faith is not only to enrich our intellectual knowledge. The purpose of our faith is to get eternal life. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. If we believe in Him we have eternal life because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, He is the source of eternal life.
Today the collect has begun in all the churches and monasteries of the Romanian Patriarchate for aiding the Christians of Syria and other parts of the Middle East, many of them victims of the persecution and violence. His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel expressed in the sermon delivered the hope that peace and good understanding among people of different faiths and cultures would be re-established as soon as possible in this part of the world.
The 2nd Sunday after the Holy Easter is the only one in the church calendar dedicated to a Saint Apostle of the Saviour. The Orthodox Christians also celebrate Saint Thomas the Apostle on 6 October.